Syria crisis political solution drawing closer: Iran
Iran is happy to see that a political solution to the five-year-old crisis in Syria is getting closer, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the United Nations envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in Tehran on Monday, Amir-Abdollahian added that political talks between the Syrian government and the opposition have entered a “new phase” as the two sides are set to resume indirect negotiations in the Swiss city of Geneva on Wednesday.
“We are happy that we are approaching a political settlement of the crisis in Syria and we hope that all regional and international sides will take fundamental and important steps on the two paths of fighting terrorism seriously and strengthening the political process,” the Iranian official said.
He also expressed hope that all regional and international parties would stop taking “conflicting measures” which would be beneficial neither to Syria nor to the Syrians.
He said he held “important” discussions with the UN envoy in Tehran on the political process in Syria.
“During today’s talks, De Mistura emphasized that there is no link between negotiations with the United Nations and terrorist movements but the issue of the list of terrorist groups is still among vague issues in the talks and the political process,” Amir-Abdollahian added.
He, however, expressed concern over the increase in the activities of “irresponsible armed groups” in Syria over recent days and an uptick in violations of ceasefire in the country, saying that could harm the political process.
He said a selective way to dispatch humanitarian aid to Syria by certain sides has also caused problems.
The UN envoy arrived in Tehran on Monday one day after he held talks with Syrian officials in Damascus.
The last round of the UN-backed peace talks for Syria came to a halt on March 24 over disagreements on the role of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s future.
The foreign-backed Syrian opposition says Assad must step down before a transitional government can be established.
The West and its allies in the Middle East say Assad cannot be part of a future government in Syria. Iran and Russia insist that the Syrian people must decide on their future.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.
According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict in the Arab country has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people and displaced nearly half of its pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.